The results of each post-season series are recorded inside the Houston Astros 2017 championship rings. Most champions design it that way, but the teams that Houston thwarted in 2017 were perhaps the most real of all baseball brands: the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The familiar logos of the losers seemed to polish the conquest of the Astros.
Now, a signal theft scandal has turned Astros into a joke, your rings everything, but meaningless for the rest of the sport. The Red Sox – which took its revenge in 2018 by beating Astros on the way to a World Series title – helped the Dodgers' efforts to take revenge by remaking their trade to send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. And the Yankees will host a former Astros star, Gerrit Cole, at spring practice in Tampa, Florida, this week.
When Astros meet in West Palm Beach, they do so in a complex they share with the Washington Nationals, the same team that defeated them in the last World Series. The Nationals won four road games to do this, the first in major league history.
The Yankees and Dodgers will be strong favorites to win the crown this time. The Yankees not only have Cole – perhaps the best pitcher in the American League – but they no longer face Betts, who had been the best player in East Los Angeles. To replace Betts, the Red Sox hit defender Alex Verdugo, who is 23 and lost the last two months of last season with a back injury. They also got two perspectives from the Dodgers: a catcher named Connor Wong and a shorttop and second baseman named Jeter Downs.
In fact, Downs was born on Alex Rodriguez's birthday in Colombia in 1998, but his parents named him for a different youth gap from that time. The eldest son was named Jerry Jr., after his father, and they wanted another name J.
"At that time, I started watching the Yankees and I admired Derek Jeter, the young man," Downs' mother, Lucila, said The Dayton Daily News in 2018, when Downs was a Cincinnati Reds prospect. “I liked how he played baseball with that love and how he struggled. I loved the name … and those beautiful eyes.
Over time, Boston fans can learn to root for a guy named Jeter, just as they did for a guy named Mookie. (A different Mookie, surname Wilson, has already had a memorable attack in New York against the Red Sox.) For now, however, these fans can only be irritated by the loss of Betts, 27, who may be the best overall player in the majors. in addition to Mike Trout. In Price, they also miss a pitcher who should have been the most valuable player in the 2018 World Series, when he beat the Dodgers twice, including in Game 5, with a short rest.
The Red Sox will not receive Brusdar Graterol, the rescuer who originally went to Boston for the Minnesota Twins, who agreed to send him to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda. The Red Sox reportedly had concerns about Graterol's durability after examining its medical records, so the Dodgers finally agreed to send Downs and Wong, pending medical review. The Dodgers will keep Graterol for themselves now, with Maeda stepping up the twins' rotation once the deal becomes official.
The Red Sox were afraid of losing the Betts at the free agency next winter when they tried to cut the payroll to reset their luxury tax rate. The owner, John Henry, acknowledged that goal at the end of the season and emailed Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe last month, insisting that the focus on tax "resides with the media much more than inside the Sox. "
As it turned out, the Red Sox were really determined to cut the payroll. They crossed the luxury tax threshold to win the 2018 title, the fourth under Henry's estate. His new baseball director, Chaim Bloom, will try to build another champion without Betts, but with – the Red Sox hope – the ingenuity of the small market he used in Tampa Bay.
Bloom's former chief at Rays, Andrew Friedman, now runs Dodgers' baseball operations. Friedman helped the Dodgers maintain a series of National West League titles, which is expected to reach eight this year. The franchise has not won a World Series since 1988, but does not want a flag for the near miss against Houston in 2017.
"We don't want a fake banner hanging at our stadium," said Dodgers, third baseman Justin Turner said at the team's Fanfest last month. "We didn't win."
Astros believe so, at least when they included the slogan "Earned History" – which now sounds like a joke – on that spotted World Series ring. They maintain a strong list under their new manager, Dusty Baker, and new general manager, James Click, and their players will be highly motivated.
But the Yankees and the Dodgers too. Astros' victims are returning in return and are bringing new stars with them.